Tuesday, August 31, 2010

don't dwell

Soon I will have a guest post up on incourage. I'm excited about this. It's a post I've always wanted to write, and the day I got to write it, to experience what I wanted to write about, was a special day. Indeed.

Today I learned that a dear, dear friend is pregnant. I am SO excited for her and wishing healthy, happy twins. A boy and a girl, if you were wondering.

Of course, with every pregnancy announcement that comes from the mouths of those I love comes the sadness and anxiety over my own waiting. I just tried to encourage a friend yesterday, with the words, "Don't expect so much of yourself. Allow the feelings to come and don't expect yourself not to feel a twang of sadness. Just let the feeling come and then let the feeling go and keep on keeping on."

You know, I think that really is the trick. We are human and so we will feel human things. The sin lies in burrowing our hearts in it, or giving the emotion too much time to hang on. It is what it is and trying to not make it so is not going to help anything. Emotions are tricky things and they come and go on their own whim. Don't build your house on that sandy shore or carry your eggs in that basket, etc., etc...

My friend realized this today because right before we got off the phone she said, "Thanks, Rach, for being so happy for me."

And I know what she meant and she knew what she meant and I love her for it.

Girl, I can't wait. And I know when I have my news, whatever the news is, you'll be just as excited for me.

Ok, time for the happy "you're pregnant" scream:

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

attitude

Yesterday we were in the car and Scott told Asher to buckle himself in. Asher said no, and Scott told him to do it or not get Chick-fil-A. Asher said, "I need a new dad. You're a tupid daddy."

Today, I told him he could not have another piece of bread before dinner. He said, "You're a dang it mommy."

?!?!

What happened to my docile little blonde boy?

And why did I have to walk out of the kitchen so he wouldn't see me laughing before I responded? There is something hopelessly adorable about

a) a child who is hurling insults but does not yet have enough words in his vocabulary to make them effective

and

b) the fact that he can't say "stupid" correctly.

It won't be cute in 10 years, so of course he had to say he was sorry and have a time out.

But man, was it cute.

Friday, August 27, 2010

dear mini van

In order to be a good mother, according to my husband, you must do the following:


1. Wear black spandex capri pants. Wear them often, pairing them with every color of the rainbow. They're even better with flip flops and a tight shirt so your muffin top is in full view. CHECK.

2. Talk about minivans, and how great they are. If there are any amongst you who do not own a minivan, berate the car they do own and tell them they are missing out. Tell them that once they go to a minivan, they won't go back. Think about minivans, and then go and buy one, even though you SWORE you never would. CHECK.

One day I decided, on a whim, to list Scott's car on craig's list. I posted pictures of it, dirty, thinking that no one would ever want to come and look at it. I had overpriced it by about 1000 and the pictures weren't good.

3 hours later I had 7 responses. You should have seen me, sweating like a stuck pig; vacuuming, febreezing, and windexing like my very soul was hanging in the balance. My neighbor even came running out with some Lysol after I ran out of Febreeze. Hey, it smells good!

The first guy who came to look at it bought it, paying me 700 more than what I thought it was worth. Of course, before he bought it he had to take it for a test drive that was three hours long, so I started to get a little nervous. I wondered how I would explain to Scott that I had gotten his car stolen for him, all in the course of a work day.

What would that phone call be like? "Uh, honey? It's me! I let someone steal your car!!!!!! Pick up some condo*ms on your way home from the store, wouldya?"

I digress. Anyway, I wanted to cry when he drove it away. That car has been with me for 13 years. Through acne, bad breakups, moves across the city and the country, 7 accidents, 5 speeding tickets (two in one day), two baby-home-from-the-hospital car rides, and 3 family trips.

It's a hard thing to say goodbye to a memory-keeper such as that.

But the van.

Oh, the van.

You were worth the wait, sweet van. I love you already, and I know our love will only grow. Give me time to learn your angles and how you like to be treated. I promise not to let the children eat ketchup and fries in you, or throw up on your upholstery. I wonder what you will bring us. Will you carry even more children in the back back seat? Will you take us to a court house to finalize an adoption?

Thank you for providing me with my very first car cd player, ever. To others you may be just a van, but to me, you are luxury.

I could sit in you and smell your new car smell (even though you are 6 years old) for hours.
Tell me your stories. Sing to me your sweet, sweet serendipitous songs of extra cargo space and mom jeans. I am yours for the taking.

World, meet my new van. Van, meet the world.




I'm Rachel, and I am a mini van owner.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

one safe place

Who would have ever thought? When we started talking about this, I thought, "No way would Scott ever be on board." But I prayed and prayed that God would either take away my desire for another child or change Scott's heart. I had prepared my heart for a "no" answer. I would never coerce my husband into such a huge decision. So I waited, and prayed, and quieted my heart. Then one night we were sitting down one night and Scott said, "What about foster/adopt?"

Friends, I nearly fell off of my chair.

*ahem*

Last night was amazing. We got to sit down and talk with the social worker. We learned that we are very well-qualified to be foster/adoptive parents, and she answered all of the questions we've been storing up for such a time as this. She checked out our house and told us what we need to change to be licensed. All stuff we've been intending to do, stuff like carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. Stuff that will make our home safer for everyone.

I just read the adoption story of a new friend and it made me so amazed. This could be us! She also said she's had 4 friends who've adopted babies from foster care in the last 2 years. There ARE children waiting to be adopted. Many. They don't all have horrible issues. They need love. Our social worker said the same thing. There are so many different situations and extenuating circumstances.

Scott is actually more excited about the foster care aspect than I am. He asked the sweetest questions about whether or not the kiddos can take the stuff we have bought for them when they leave. He said, and I quote, "I don't want them to come into our home empty-handed and leave it the same way. That's not right."

I just absolutely love my husband.

During the foster/adopt classes they take you through the worst-case scenarios, so you are duly prepared. They've definitely been eye opening. The truth is, we are both ready for this. These kiddos need us.

Do we really say "no" to opening our home up because they may only stay a month? What if this is the only stability they will know in their short lives? How can we say, "No?" As followers of Jesus Christ, how can we possibly? How?

I've said "no" in my heart so many times...but if I'm going to practice what I preach, if I'm going to be Jesus' hands and feet instead of throwing money at problems and turning my back, this is it.

God has used some amazing friends to help us decide.

After reading our profile the social worker asked if I feel like I'm ready, if I've properly grieved. I know I have. Even 4 or 5 months ago I'd say "no". I'll always be sad, but that's not going to change with time. There will always be a part of me I gave up when my babies died.

But it's time to move on.

When I think about all of the miscarriages and pain and Lucy's issues, I think also how our experience can be used to help these kiddos. We know loss. We *get* it, more than we'd like to.

It gives me chills to think that God can even use our very intense grief as a way to help little kids who are feeling the same thing.

To maybe be getting a glimpse of the back of this pain tapestry? To see how He's used all things to get us to this place? WOW. And I wonder how many children out there still wouldn't have homes if there weren't such a thing as pregnancy loss?

There will be ups and downs. I will document them here. We don't know what the heck we are doing, but we know we've considered it all very carefully and we will follow as God continues to lead us.

Following blind is scary as anything, but it's also exhilarating...because I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

Last night was an "up".

Thank you, God.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

holy bat cave, batman...

tonight is our first home visit.
I am not nervous.*


*that is a lie.

smells and sounds

So last night at foster/adopt class we did an exercise where we had to pretend to be the foster child leaving the only home we know and entering a new situation.

The leader said, "Close your eyes and imagine the sounds of your house: a ticking clock, soft music. imagine the smells. Perhaps an apple pie cooking?"

Scott and I immediately started snickering. Laughing in what was supposed to be this very serious exercise.

The minute we got out the door he said, "those aren't the smells and sounds in our house. The smell is poop and the sound is whining."

And we both agreed, then and there, that we wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

cells

For so long I tried to keep the plates spinning. Told myself that if I checked on my kids at night or looked back on them in the car one extra time to make sure they were properly buckled in they would be safe. Untouchable.

Today I was invited by my bosom buddy Dawn to go to a support group meeting at Alexandra's House, an old Victorian-style house that is a haven for parents whose world is shaken, or has been shaken, by the death of a baby.

I got to tour the house, to see all of the photographs of babies gone too soon. Mothers leaning over and giving last kisses, fathers stoic and broken.

Bedrooms with fresh sheets and pastel bassinnets, rose-colored walls poised to witness heartbreak.

I kept asking my friend if it was appropriate for me to go, since I haven't actually held my dead newborn or woken up in the morning to the horrible realization that my 11 week old baby, (my 4th child, this was supposed to be old hat), has died of SIDS in the night.

Somehow, though, it felt like I was sitting among old friends. And as I sat there, my history, my story, rolled right out of my mouth and onto the tile floor where it rested. It felt safe there, validated. I didn't have to pretend that the past didn't hurt or that the future wasn't downright scary.

A television crew was in the process of filming a documentary in the house, and an OB who is heavily involved in helping parents who come to the house to be with their children as they pass away stayed and chatted with us for about an hour. It was awesome to get free medical advice from an impartial observer, and I think part of what prompted it was that he had lost his own baby ten minutes after birth, 17 years ago.

That changes a person.

A few days ago I got an email from a dear loved one who was just diagnosed with lung cancer.

Blindsided.

Cancer cells divide, fetal cells aren't programmed correctly, umbilical cords knot out the promise of a long and uncomplicated life. Prison cells are filled to capacity with people who think it's just fine to load up on vodka and drive through minivans filled with mothers and children on their way to the park.

And yet, today, everything that was important shone through.

Embryonic heart cells won't always form correctly and those prison cells will always be full, no matter what we do.

The only thing that we have to fight the rising tide of uncertainty, grief, chaos, is this:

We love, and we hold onto those we love, those we learn to love in mere minutes due to shared experience.

And in the sharing, in the stories rolling to the tiled floor, in the sunlight meandering itself through slatted blinds onto that same rose-colored wall, something happens.

We are free.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

34

8 years ago we met.

When I was 14, I had created a list of everything I was looking for in a husband:

1. nice hands
2. great taste in music; musical
3. taller than me
4. great sense of humor
5. responsible
6. kind
7. empathetic
8. good listener
9. loves kids
10. loves God

When we met I had promised my roommate at the time, my cousin Amy, that I was NOT looking for anyone to date, especially on the day after a particularly hard breakup in which the two individuals in question talked hours into the night arguing the existence of God. She told me I needed to go to the church singles group that night and get off of my bed and stop moping around.

You and I talked the biscuit wheels off the gravy train that night. The conversation was natural, the feeling in the air light. I had coupons for the restaurant we all met at, and I showed them to you proudly.

I also answered texts from guys I had met on Match.com, fielding a phone call from a potential date.

I asked you how you pronounced your last name, and now that I have it, too, I'm still not sure.

No one is.

I didn't care if you "liked" me or not, I was SO over trying to attract someone. I was just myself. You couldn't stop laughing.

"You're fun," you said.

On our way back to our cars, I thought of the list. I asked you your favorite band, and you said, "Creed."

"Oh dear Joseph and Mary," I thought to myself, "That's like someone saying they think U2 is cool. I think he just may be a walking cliche."

You opened my car door and you still do. Your hands are great but I'm taller, and your choice in music is currently anything in which an angry black man is rapping. You're a good listener as long as Everybody Loves Raymond is playing on television simultaneously, but you've got a heart of gold.

34 years ago today a woman was meeting you for the first time, calling you "son".

34 years ago today, the person I love so dearly, the person who knows me more than I know myself, the person who has held me when sorrow was too great and cried with me when joy filled the room, was born.

That person was you.

Happy Birthday, Scottie too Hottie.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the church

Last night was another good class. Lots to think about, and lots to process.

So, we got into a discussion, Scott and I, about something a friend of mine said. She said that if more people in the church adopted or took those in need into their homes, maybe adoption wouldn't cost so much. Maybe there wouldn't be so many hoops to jump through.

And then I told Scott that, and he said, "Well, I don't think you can blame it all on the church. The church is a lot smaller than it used to be, and the church isn't equipped to deal with those things."

"But can't the people in the church do more than they're doing? Aren't the people in the church what we call the church?"

I think we were playing a semantics game, but it's an interesting thought.

We also talked in the class about how if something doesn't seem easy, people don't want to do it. We live in a very "me" oriented society.

This post got me thinking about it, too...

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

record screeching

Yesterday I made the fasion error of wearing a white halter top with a pink camisole underneath.

Yeah.

It looked about as good as you're thinking.

I drove to a friend's house. I went to high school with her husband, and she and I have become fast friends.

She was nursing her baby and I said the very first thing that popped into my head, which was, "Wow! Your boobs are huge!"

I have a fascination with huge boobs because, well, I don't have them.

In fact, when I got home last night my husband said, "Nice uni-boob."

Anyway, we were in her bedroom and I was looking at a wedding picture of my friends. He is my age and she is 5 years younger, and she's also those people who will be 50 and look 35.

Before I knew what was happening, my mouth upened up and I said (in a fake British accent, no less), "There's Tommy and his child bride!"

*insert record screeching here*

She started laughing and he said, "WHAT did she say?"

She repeated it and he kind of laughed and said, "Wow," like he couldn't believe I said it.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

When I first met my in-laws (The very first time), we were all drinking wine and they said they went to lots of wine tastings. I said,

"I think that's a great activity for older people. But what happens when your taste buds wear out? Do you still enjoy wine?"

Oh, and that was BEFORE I FELL UP THEIR STAIRS on the way to the bathroom.

Scott says his favorite thing about me is that I make him laugh and he never knows what will fly out of my mouth.

I think I'm turning into one of those people past their prime...like the 40 year old football star who still attends the high school parties.

Cute when you're 18, weird when you're 31.

Friday, August 6, 2010

choices

The other day Lucy asked me why we had such an ugly car.

We were driving along, and the question came out of nowhere.

"Why can't we have a car like Nina and Papa's, or Grandma and Grandpa's? Nice and new and smells good! Why can't we get a minivan?"

"Well," I replied, willing myself to think fast, because this was the ultimate of teachable moments, "Life is all about choices, Lu. If we had a car like Nina and Papa's or Grandma and Grandpa's I would have to go back to work. Those things cost money, and those things aren't important to us right now. Your grandparents are older and aren't raising kids. Right now, it's more important to your dad and me that I'm home raising you instead of driving around a fancy car."

"But I want a really nice car!"

"OK, how about this. We don't go to Costco for lunch, or McDonald's, or go on any vacations. Mommy will get you up really early each morning to go to day care so we can have expensive things in our house. You won't actually get home until 6 PM or so, and an hour after that you'll go to bed. Then, the next morning, you'll repeat it all over again. No playdates or mommy coming to your school and helping out in your classroom. But, I'll always show up to pick you up in that beautiful mini-van you're wanting."

a few moments of silence, then...

"Mama? Let's keep this car forever."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

moments

Gonna close my eyes, gonna watch you go, running through this life, darlin', like a field of snow.
                                                                                     - David Gray

I watched you sleep last night.

You begged to be in my bed, as you usually do at night. You're three, and I suppose we should make you sleep in your own little domicile, but something about your badly-buttoned pajama tops endear you to me.

You snuggle down in, your sweaty head resting on my arm. Face in pillow, you proffer up your hand. We've danced this dance a million times.

I scratch your hand and watch you fall asleep. The thought occurs to me that something is firing in your brain. It happens all the time, I know, but I watch you and wonder what neurons are connecting, which synapse is being built because I am scratching your hand,

kissing your head.

How does this moment influence who you will be?

Maybe I think too much, and maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe the only thing that matters is this moment, that it's here, and gone, and you and I will continue on with life.

Or maybe life is really just a conglomeration of those moments, badly filtered and put together in the human brain to make a mosaic.

Maybe these little moments are the only ones that matter.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the waiting season

So yeah, read my blog for a few days and you'll begin to feel very mentally competent. Or even-keeled, at least. Even my kid realizes I need some encouragement now and then:



Listen, last night was crazy. Not the, "We barhopped and Joe ended up in a ditch passed out" kind of 'last night was crazy' that you're thinking about. It was the, "this foster adopt thing is crazy." We talked more about the kinds of kids in foster adopt...the kinds of kids that need homes. We're trying to temper that with realizing that our kids are our first priority. Their safety and well being needs to come first.

How do we temper that with our desire for another child? Is it fair to our current kids to bring another one into the home? One that possibly may not be staying for long? One who has been abused?

I mean, this is some serious stuff...like, "Little Jonny is 9 months old and addicted to crack. He doesn't look at anyone and rocks back and forth all day."

If you're reading this and you think you're a bad parent, trust me. YOU ARE NOT. Breathe slowly into a paper back and repeat, "I AM NOT A BAD PARENT. I AM NOT A BAD PARENT. I DO NOT BEAT MY CHILD. I FEED MY CHILD. I AM NOT A BAD PARENT."

Anyway. This is going to take alot of patience and work. These kids aren't the type to play by themselves for 3 hours like my kids do. I KNEW that going into it, but knowing it and seeing it on paper and discussing it in a class are two very, very different things.

Just feeling discouraged this morning. Feeling like this was really what God wanted us to do, but maybe God doesn't want us to do anything. I mean, He does, but maybe what we think is God telling us to do something is just our own desires coming out as a prayer request or mandate from God.

Everyone knows a guy who always says, "God is leading me to start my own Fortune 500 company" or, "God led me to break up with my girlfriend." Nevermind that she had a horse face and resembled Al Franken when the sun hit her face just right.



God is a convenient scape goat.

And really? How do you know God is leading you to do something, and it wasn't just the pleasantry of nerve and synapse and seratonin having a party in your brain? How do you know it's God, and not your own desire, or the biology of your mind at a certain time of day?

So it leaves things very, eh, unclear.

I was never promised an easy go of it, and that's becoming very clear.

What I was promised was "I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)

No guarantee of another child, no guarantee that I will live another day, no guarantee that things will "work out" for me simply because I am a Christian.

p.s. If you are a Christian and you actually tell people that, it's annoying. FYI.

Oh, also? NOT TRUE.

So, yeah.

The waiting season.

Wait with me?

Monday, August 2, 2010

so, where was i

We filled out a bunch of paperwork yesterday, and this is feeling more and more real.

It really makes you think about why you are doing this and what your goals are together, as a family, and individually.

I know people think we are silly/naive to be going into foster/adopting. To that I say, we've thought long and hard (ooh, long and hard) about it, and this is what's best for our family right now. I also love how people say, "Well, it will be really hard to do."

Ummm...you followed my blog for the last 18 months?!

Yes?

It's like, so totally easy to have a kid without a but*t hole and a poop bag, have panic attacks with the second one because I'm just sure at any second he's going to be stillborn (I was sitting there the night before he was born, cursing everyone who had bought me baby clothes because I knew I'd have to return them all), even though he's completely healthy...yelling at the doctor after she pulls him out of the scalpel-created opening in my abdomen, "DOOOOOOOES HEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAVE A BUTTTTTTHOOOOOOOLE?" the doctors are laughing because he does and they admit that that's the first thing they checked...

miscarry and then miscarry some more, lose a tube, have a panic attack in the middle of the McDonald's drive through after the last ultrasound from hell, where I am trying to order "hot chocolate" and it comes out as "chock hocolate",

Just a regular barrel of monkeys of fun!

I also say I need to mow, shower, and vacuum.

Oh, and why do my kids only whine for me, not their father?

like mother, like daughter (that is our new kitchen paint color):


Why is it cuter on her?

shower

Tonight is our second foster/adopt class.

The last one made us have even more questions, but Asher is sitting in a Princess chair with no underwear on so I suppose I should prioritize. He is saying, "Look at me butt pants."

What is he, a pirate?

So, anyway, tonight.

A friend who has also had 3 miscarriages and an ectopic was blogging about how now she is expecting in a different way, and people notice.

Yes. This. I feel a calm I haven't felt in months; the fact that I am or could be ovulating soon is of not as much consequence as it used to be.

This weekend we went on a girls' weekend and it was so. much. fun. One of the things that made it so much fun was that I could sit in my room tweezing my face and watching this movie on Lifetime and NO ONE WAS ASKING ME FOR ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One girl had just found out she was pregnant the day before, so no drinky-drink. It was fun to talk to her about all things pregnancy, but it didn't make me crazy.

Progress?

Read this, too.

I will post pictures sometime soon. We haven't mowed our lawn since July 10, so we are those neighbors.

Scott gave me a hug last night and told me I smelled like I've been sweating at a lake. I suppose that means it is time to shower? Or do I wait a day?